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Sustained conflict in the north and COVID-19 pandemic drives atypically high assistance needs

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Nigeria
  • June 2020 - January 2021
Sustained conflict in the north and COVID-19 pandemic drives atypically high assistance needs

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Sustained conflict associated with Boko Haram coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions, has led to an increase in the populations facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4). In accessible areas of the northeast, purchasing power is below average as staple food prices significantly increased. Households are accessing income through limited labor or self-employment opportunities.

    • IDPs in most camps across northeastern states are in Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) as humanitarian food assistance is closing food consumption gaps. IDPs typically engage in limited income earning activities, although these activities have been further limited due to some restrictions associated with COVID-19. Most notably movement and social distancing restrictions have disrupted self-employment and informal sector activities. For IDPs, in camps in inaccessible areas near the Lake Chad basin, very limited access to food and income is likely resulting in Emergency (IPC Phase 4).

    • Displaced households in the northwest, worst-affected by conflict are dependent on atypical livelihood activities that have been further disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Pastoralists are expected to return to their homesteads from June to September, which escalates conflict during the growing season. This coupled with the spike in staple food prices is expected to limit food access in worst-conflict affected areas, resulting in Crisis (IPC phase 3) through September. As the harvest becomes available, many households are expected to start consuming own foods. Although, many households are expected to face difficulty meeting their non-food needs and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected in the post-harvest period.

    • The Nigeria economy has made improvements over the past three years; however, due to the fall in international oil prices and COVID-19 pandemic, foreign exchange reserves have considerably dropped. This has led to the depreciation of the NGN on the official and parallel markets, although most notably on the parallel market. This coupled with other factors including COVID-19 restrictions, increased demand, and border closures has resulted in a significant increase in staple prices.

    • Conflict associated with Boko Haram has been ongoing for over 10 years and the sharp uptick in 2016 destroyed livelihoods and significantly disrupted household food access. Though conflict persists and some areas remain inaccessible, available information suggests food security has somewhat improved. There is limited reporting of extreme hunger in inaccessible areas in line with what occurred in 2016. As such, it is unlikely a Famine is ongoing in inaccessible areas; however, Famine could occur in the event there is a dramatic uptick or shift in conflict that isolates households from typical food and income sources and humanitarian assistance for a prolonged period of time.


    Current Situation

    Atypically high humanitarian assistance needs are present across the country with the highest level of need and most severe outcomes present in the northeast, driven by continued conflict. Moreover, atypically high assistance needs also persist in the northwest due to conflict, and in urban centers due to COVID-19 related restrictions. As of June 30, there were 25,694 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 590 associated deaths across 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). 561 new confirmed cases and 17 deaths were recorded in Nigeria between June 29 and 30. As of June 30, Lagos, FCT, Oyo, and Kano States have the highest total number of COVID-19 cases with 10,510, 1,870, 1,380, and 1,201 cases, respectively.

    The government of Nigeria continues to enforce various measures to curb the spread of the virus. These measures include social distancing, wearing of face masks, closure of some markets, check points along market routes, and closure of land borders. On June 30, the government announced the easing of some restrictions that were previously in place on worship centers, restaurants, schools, and interstate travel. Similarly, only essential personnel can move and government workers at higher grades can report for duty at specific times. Most lockdown measures were present in urban centers, limiting population movement. However, movement restrictions are not strictly observed or enforced. Conversely, restrictions to cross border movement with neighboring countries are enforced.

    The Nigerian economy and foreign reserves are mainly dependent on crude oil, which represents more than 80 percent of exports and is influenced by fluctuations in international oil prices. According to the IMF, the economy is experiencing twin-shocks: the significant decrease in the crude oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic slowing economic activity. In May, the country exported 1.61 million barrels of crude oil per day, still higher than the Nigeria OPEC+ proposed quota of 1.41 million barrels per day. OPEC+ cut Nigeria’s quota due to high market supply and calm price decreases. While global oil prices have slightly rebounded, prices are still lower at 27.90 USD/barrel in May relative to before the COVID-19 pandemic in January when global oil prices where 66.68 USD/barrel. As oil production has been cut and prices are low, government revenue and foreign reserves have decreased (Figure 1).  

    The Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported annual inflation in May at 12.40 percent compared to 12.34 percent in April, in line with the slight increase in inflation since the beginning of 2020, and the highest rate since April 2018. The Nigerian naira (NGN) depreciated against the USD, with the interbank rate depreciating by 15 percent from 306 NGN/USD to 360 NGN/USD since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March. The parallel market (BDC) exchange rate is 450 NGN/USD. In May, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in view of the gradual easing of lockdown measures across many countries resumed the issuance of foreign exchange to all commercial banks for onward sale to small and medium scale enterprises to import goods. Similarly, small and medium scale businesses wishing to make essential imports will now have access to foreign currency at the official exchange rate. These activities are an effort to revitalize economic activity in the country.

    The Petroleum Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPRA), responsible for setting fuel prices, decreased domestic fuel prices for the third time in 2020 as a result of the crash in global crude oil prices. In early June, the PPRA announced the new pump price between 121.50 to 123.50 NGN/liter. These price controls on fuel are likely preventing large increases in transportation costs.

    Foreign trade, aggregated by exports and imports, declined by about 18 percent in the first three months of the year relative to the fourth quarter of 2019, largely driven by crude oil exports. Trade and international market activities have been constrained during the global lockdown associated with the pandemic.

    Moreover, international flight restrictions and land border closures are limiting regional trade activities, resulting in decreases in government revenue and limiting income earning among populations reliant on cross border movement. Both domestic and international trade flows have substantially declined across the country. The six seaports are operational, though due to restrictions, the flow of goods is slower than normal. Similarly, domestic checkpoints along trade routes enforcing COVID-19 regulations, coupled with market closures, are limiting trade activities across the country. Markets across the country are gradually reopening for business with the easing of the recent lockdown measures across many states.  

    Rainfall performance to date has been mixed with the largest deficits in the northeast, although rainfall has been closer to average across the rest of the country (Figure 2). Ground information indicates erratic rainfall distribution in many areas, though, flooding occurred in Lagos, Kwara, Akwa Ibom and other locations across the country in June and a flood risk remains. The onset of rainfall was normal to early in most areas, though rainfall started late in some far northeastern areas. Despite rainfall deficits to date, heavier rainfall in late June has eased deficits.

    To encourage engagement in agriculture activities and reduce the impact of COVID-19 related restrictions on the ongoing season, the government recently resuscitated the National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA). NALDA recruited over 77,00 young farmers to engage in agriculture activities ranging from cropping to animal husbandry by providing them with inputs. Furthermore, the government is providing inputs such as fertilizer and improved seeds at subsidized rates. Additionally, the CBN is providing further agriculture support to 1.6 million farmers for crop production and animal husbandry activities. The Nigeria Civil Defense Corps (NCDC) deployed agro-rangers to safeguard farms and ranches across some worst conflict-affected areas in Kaduna state as directed by the State governor to facilitate engagement in agriculture.

    Weeding, and fertilizer applications are underway normally in the southern states while land preparation and planting is ongoing in the central and northern areas. The green harvest of yams and maize in southern areas and groundnuts and potatoes in the central states is underway. Despite crop inputs, engagement in agriculture activities is generally below normal across the country. This is largely driven by movement restrictions to migratory labor, still below-average access to inputs, constrained land access, conflict in northern areas, and the somewhat slow start of season. Due to the continued risk of desert locusts in 12 northern states, the government released funding for control measures in the event they reach Nigeria.

    Pasture and water availability are gradually improving across the country with the rainy season. Livestock body conditions are generally good, and pastoralists are moving from southern to northern areas as typical as pastoralism is considered an essential activity. Conflict in central, northwestern, and northeastern parts of the country has limited access to some grazing areas, though. Livestock prices are generally slightly above average due to the land border closures, reduced imports from Cameroon, Chad, and Niger, and increased demand for Tabaski. According to livestock traders, prices have increased by between 20 to 30 percent during the lockdown relative to the pre-COVID-19 period across most markets. However, the livestock-to-cereal terms of trade (ToT) remain near normal, as livestock and cereal prices have increased at similar rates.

    Migratory labor across the country and from neighboring countries is disrupted by restrictions to interstate and cross-border movement, limiting labor supply in high potential areas in the north. This is reducing engagement in agriculture. Similarly, labor wages are slightly below-average as labor demand is also below average including for agriculture.

    Similarly, casual labor demand and wages are below average, particularly in urban areas due to the pandemic. As a result, many poor households, especially in urban areas, are earning below-average wages and income.

    A substantial proportion of the population typically accesses some income from domestic remittances (Figure 3). Due to decreases in casual labor income in urban areas, it is anticipated that the frequency and quantity of remittances to rural areas has decreased. International remittances will similarly decrease for the benefitting households due to the pandemic.

    Across most markets, supplies have substantially declined and are well below-average despite traders releasing stocks to sell products at seasonally high prices in part due to the lockdown. Market supply in southern areas, which are deficit producing, are more constrained relative to northern markets. Moreover, staple food prices are relatively higher in southern areas than the north, despite conflict in northern areas impacting market functioning. Delays in movement of goods has reduced the flow of the stocks across the country and overall markets are functioning at lower levels than normal.

    Despite the decrease in fuel prices, which has mitigated any increase in transportation costs, staple prices are still increasing weekly across most markets. Across major markets, prices of staple foods including maize, rice, millet, sorghum, and yams are above last year and the five-year average (Figure 4). In conflict affected areas in northern parts of the country, specifically the northeast, food prices are relatively higher compared to neighboring States. For example, millet sells for 212 NGN/kg in Maiduguri while in Kano millet sells for 133 NGN/kg, in May. In Kano, Maiduguri, Ibadan, and Lagos, millet and maize prices are selling for 13,000 to 15,000 NGN/100kg bag. Prices increased 65 to 120 percent between January and May (Figure 5), are relatively higher than last year and average.

    Communal and farmer/pastoral conflict, kidnapping, and armed banditry persist across northern and central parts of the country. Though the epicenter of conflict is in the northeast where the Boko Haram insurgency continues. In recent months, insurgents have escalated attacks in the northeast of Nigeria, particularly in Borno State and military counterinsurgency operations have also intensified leading to increased displacement and restricted livelihood activities in the area relative to the same time last year. In June, attacks were reported in several locations in the northeast related to insurgency, communal clashes, farmer/pastoral conflict, banditry, and kidnapping. The recent attacks in Fadama Kolomdi and Gubio LGAs have left 81 people dead, 400 cattle rustled, and others displaced. The attack by ISWAP on Monguno town, hosting over 100,000 IDPs in mid-June resulted in fatalities, injuries, and displacement. Similarly, Gubio town was also attacked on the same day, with fatalities and displacement.

    In northern and central parts of the country, conflict continues and is driving the displacement of some households. In mid-June, armed bandits raided several villages in Zamfara, Sokoto, and Katsina States. There are over 3,000 people who were forced to flee and are residing in areas of Dandume town with the community providing limited amounts of food and other items. Key informants indicate that more people continue to arrive Dandume and Faskari LGAs as conflict is likely continuing. Additionally, communal conflict in Zangon Kataf, and Kauru LGAs in Kaduna state led to displacement and fatalities with a subsequent 24-hour curfew declared by the state government to curtail the escalation of the conflict. Similar attacks by bandits, kidnappers, and cattle rustlers has been reported in Shiroro LGA of Niger state where over 4,000 persons remain displaced. Attacks were also reported in Benue, Plateau, and Nasarawa states, also resulting in displacement and fatalities.

    According to IOM, over 2 million people remain displaced in the northeastern states of Yobe, Adamawa, Taraba, Bauchi, Gombe and Borno. Most of them are living in host communities while others are residing in camps and are dependent on humanitarian assistance and community support. Borno state, the epicenter of the insurgency hosts about 1.5 million IDPs. As of May, in conflict-affected areas of the northwestern and central Nigeria, over 175,000 people are displaced in surveyed LGAs in Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara States, according to UNHCR. Also, according to UNHCR, despite border closures, more than 30,000 people have fled to Niger since April, triple that of the same time last year. Many of these households have reported fleeing insecurity and violence. 

    Nutrition outcomes in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states continue to deteriorate with high rates of acute malnutrition among children and women. In the first quarter of 2020, partners within the Nutrition Cluster collectively screened over 1.4 million children, identifying approximately 160,000 acute malnourished children. A total of 46,425 severely malnourished children were admitted in the Outpatient Therapeutic Program (OTP) and 2,521 were classified with severe acute malnutrition with medical complications in Stabilization Centers. Over 96 percent of all severely malnourished children are successfully treated and discharged.

    Humanitarian actors have provided support to over 2.1 million people in April, with over 1.5 million receiving food assistance across Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states. Most of the beneficiaries are in Borno State in displacement camps with over 1.2 million people receiving food assistance in April. In May over 2.3 million beneficiaries received assistance across the three states with over 1.4 million benefitted with food assistance with about 2 million beneficiaries in Borno state receiving food assistance. The ration provided by actors distributing humanitarian food assistance typically meets about 70 percent of a

     household’s kilocalorie needs either in cash or in kind. Although data on distributions is not yet available, based on past trends and continued operations despite COVID-19, it is anticipated that similar levels of assistance were distributed in June.

    Overall, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes persist in much of the northeast, with some worst-affected areas in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) (Figure 6). A risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) continues in this region, though it is assessed to be unlikely that a Famine (IPC Phase 5) is ongoing (see section below).

    Most vulnerable and conflict affected households in northwest and northcentral states either in camps or in host communities are more dependent on markets for food than normal. Staple prices are atypically elevated, and incomes are restricted, consequently most households have resorted to less preferred foods and reduced quantity and frequency of meals. Some areas where incomes are more limited due to high levels of displacement or continued conflict Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected. In areas where access to incomes is relatively better, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) is present.

    In urban areas, predominantly flood affected areas of the south, and areas bordering Cameroon where there is a high concentration of IDPs, many households are reliant on markets for food as household food stocks are limited. This is increasing market demand and prices, which is somewhat decreasing household access to food. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has constrained income earning activities for not only some rural households, but also for urban households. Urban households are mainly dependent on informal and daily work which is restricted. As incomes are somewhat constrained, these areas are in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) with some households facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3). 

    Continued risk of Famine in the Northeast, although unlikely Famine is ongoing in inaccessible areas

    In 2016, in northeastern Nigeria, a sudden uptick in conflict destroyed livelihoods and significantly disrupted households’ access to food. Much of Borno State was classified as Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and it was FEWS NET’s analysis that a Famine (IPC Phase 5) likely occurred in Bama and Banki towns and surrounding areas. Since that time, FEWS NET’s analysis on Nigeria has included two risks of Famine: First. a risk that Famine is ongoing in inaccessible areas of the northeast, though this could not be confirmed nor disproven with available evidence; and Second a risk that a Famine could occur in the event that conflict shifts and cuts populations off from typical food sources, as occurred in Bama and Banki in 2016. Given current levels of acute food insecurity in northeast Nigeria, as well as persisting conflict dynamics, and bearing in mind that a spike in conflict can lead to a sharp deterioration in food security conditions (as occurred in Rann in 2019), there remains a risk Famine could occur in the event of a sharp uptick or dramatic shift in conflict. However, available evidence indicates that it is unlikely Famine is ongoing in inaccessible areas.

    Though conflict persists in northeast Nigeria, the dynamics of conflict and the scale of impact has shifted slightly. In 2016, the conflict that occurred in areas of greatest concern was characterized by a rapid onset that significantly restricted access to food and income sources for a notable period of time. Currently, ongoing conflict continues to disrupt normal engagement in livelihood activities, though there has been some adaptation by households that have allowed livelihood activities to continue despite periodic disruption. Relative to 2016 there is higher functioning of markets and trade routes, greater self-employment opportunities, and some increase in agriculture production. Although it is anticipated that agricultural production remains below pre-crisis levels in inaccessible areas, a gradual improvement relative to 2016 has been noted. Anecdotal information suggests households in inaccessible areas have made agreements with and/or pay insurgents to access farms for cultivation. Furthermore, within some inaccessible areas that were recently liberated by the government military, populations were observed to have livestock and access to own production. The recently liberated populations are also said to have access to markets within the area and in parts of Cameroon.

    Available data on food security outcomes also suggests moderate improvements in food security. Based on data collected among individuals who have recently left inaccessible areas, large proportions of the population have poor Food Consumption Score and low Household Dietary Diversity Score, though moderate hunger on the Household Hunger Scale, indicating likely poor dietary diversity and moderate hunger, but not extreme food consumption gaps. Field data collected by FEWS NET from neighboring accessible areas, in which key informants speak to conditions in inaccessible areas, also suggests some improvement in food consumption relative to 2016. Moreover, the reporting of acute malnutrition among arrivals from inaccessible areas has declined since 2016. Lastly, the large-scale outcry from humanitarian partners on the ground – identifying increasing malnutrition and mortality – was ongoing in 2016 but is not currently occurring. Data does still suggest that Crisis (IPC Phase 3) with some areas in Emergency (IPC Phase 4), are likely, though it is unlikely a Famine is ongoing in inaccessible areas. It remains possible, however, that Famine could occur in the event there is a dramatic uptick or shift in conflict that isolates households from typical sources of food and income, and humanitarian access, for a prolonged period of time.


    The most likely scenario for June 2020 to January 2021 is based on the following national level assumptions:

    • Based on global trends, Nigeria CDC, and London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the number of cases of COVID-19 is expected to increase through at least September with community infection continuing, in particular in areas of high population density including IDP camps in Borno State.
    • The Government is expected to continue enforcing measures meant to slow the spread of the virus, including social distancing and curfews, particularly in urban areas, in the near-term (3 to 6 months). Restriction measures, such as restriction to population movement, market curfews, closing schools, will most likely be gradually relaxed, though localized - some states will lift restriction measures, then as cases increase, the government will likely re-introduce restriction measures.
    • Based on the forecast from USGS and NOAA, c (Figure 7). The season will likely end normally in October across the north and December in the south.
    • Flooding along major floodplains is expected to peak between July and September leading to some displacement and damage to infrastructure and farmlands. Water releases from upstream dams in Niger and Cameroon will most likely worsen flooding in Nigeria, which will likely lead to above-average flooding in July/August.
    • The maize and yam green harvest in bimodal areas is expected to be below average due to the impact of farmer/pastoral conflict, below-average rainfall, and slightly below-average area planted.
    • Nationally, the main harvest starting in September/October is expected to be slightly below average, particularly in the southeast and extreme south as well as in most areas affected by conflict in northeast, north west, and central states. The government is providing atypically high levels of support to farming households through loan, inputs such as subsidized fertilizer and improved seeds to help boost yields.
    • Pastoral resources including water and fodder are expected to increase through September and be generally favorable, supporting near typical livestock movement from southern to northern areas. However, pastoral resources in conflict prone areas will most likely be difficult to access, which is expected to lead to stress pasture due to over grazing on communal land. Moreover, some pastoralists will most likely stay longer than usual in some areas. However, movement restrictions are not expected to limit livestock movement from southern areas and areas affected by conflict. Similarly, pastoral movement from neighboring countries will be lower than average due to the border closure.
    • Urban poor households are expected to engage in below-average levels of petty trading, water hawking, and construction work as the lockdown measures persist for the next 3 to 6 months. Both labor demand and wages are expected to be substantially below average. Some urban poor households are also expected to migrate to rural areas to engage in agricultural labor as a coping strategy. As restrictions are lifted, urban livelihoods are expected to gradually improve; however, this is expected to be slow and urban economic activity is expected to remain constrained.
    • Remittance flows into Nigeria will continue to decline substantially due to the global economic slowdown. According to the World Bank, remittances to low- and medium-income countries including Nigeria could drop by about 20 percent in 2020. Remittances within the country from urban to rural areas are also expected to decrease for the next four months due to the decreases in urban population income.
    • Most poor households are expected to have limited food stocks from June to September associated with the peak of the lean season. As a result, most households are expected to be reliant on markets for food. However, traders will earn more from crop sales during the lean season as prices continue to increase above last year and average price levels.  
    • Pastoral households are expected to normally sell their livestock to earn income. Transhumance from neighboring countries, who typically sell relatively more livestock in Nigeria are expected to be below average, reducing livestock market supplies. Thus, domestic pastoralists will experience favorable prices, peaking in August with Tabaski.
    • Livestock body conditions will continue to improve as pastoralists are expected to avoid conflict affected areas, and prices will remain favorable during the growing season. Livestock products including milk and other livestock products are expected to be available normally, though at elevated prices.
    • Typical labor movements from northern to southern areas during the off-season will be below-normal related to COVID-19 restriction measures. Migratory labor from neighboring countries such as Niger, Chad, and Cameroon will be below average due to the land border closure and the pandemic, reducing labor competition slightly, though competition will remain elevated due to the lower number of available opportunities associated with the economic decline.
    • Based on IMF projections, GDP is likely to contract 3.4 percent in 2020. Foreign reserves are expected to continue to decline, the NGN is expected to depreciate further, with inflation likely remaining in the double digits throughout the projection period. The CBN will be unable to sustain supplementing the NGN from further depreciation through direct intervention. The CBN will likely devalue the naira and possibly remove the dual exchange rate allowing the market to determine the actual exchange rate.
    • The government is expected to continue strict security surveillance at the borders across the country to curb the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the smuggling of prohibited commodities such as rice from neighboring countries. The export of staple foods and processed/manufactured goods to neighboring countries and the import of rice, livestock, and cowpeas through the land borders are expected to remain significantly below average.
    • The flow of food from surplus to deficit producing areas are expected to continue, though delivery time will most likely be prolonged due to increased checkpoints associated with the combined impacts of the COVID-19 lockdown and conflict.
    • Manufactured goods and wheat will continue to be imported through seaports, though delayed due to quarantine by the port’s health personnel and reduced funding capacity of importers as the naira depreciates. Imports will likely decline abruptly relative to last year as the economic downturn continues through the scenario period.
    • Between July and September, most households will have exhausted their food stocks and rely on markets to access food, increasing demand. The prices of staple cereals such as maize, rice, millet, and sorghum as well as for tubers such as yams and gari, are anticipated to continue to increase. Prices will likely remain above last year and the five-year average. By September, prices will decline slightly due to the harvest, but remain above average (Figure 8).
    • Based on the current situation and past trends, it is assumed the Boko Haram insurgency will continue in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa States, and that conflict will be similar to or slightly higher as the rainy/lean season will likely result in sustained attacks by the insurgents to increase access to food and leverage more control of land. Consequently, population displacement towards the urban and semi-urban areas is expected to increase. The likely influx of pastoralists into the areas with relatively better pasture availability, particularly in central states, including the Kaduna, Plateau, Benue, Taraba, Adamawa and Nasarawa States, will likely lead to further increases in conflict between pastoralists and farming households.
    • Government, humanitarian actors, corporate organizations as well as communities and wealthy individuals will continue to provide support to populations deemed at-risk of food insecurity. Assistance to IDP camps in accessible areas of the northeast is expected to reach 1.5 million people through September monthly; however, monthly plans are not available beyond this time for IDP camps.

    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    Most urban poor households are earning significantly below-average income and are mainly market dependent. As staple food prices are expected to increase and are atypically elevated, this is expected to continue to constrain access to non-food items. As a result, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected through September. Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes starting October are expected with the anticipated income opportunities and slight decline in staple food prices and increase in market function. Most urban poor households will likely earn normal income and access food normally.

    Most household staple stocks will continue to seasonally deplete during the lean season through September across the country with more households becoming increasingly market dependent for food. These households are expected to face increased food access constraints due to reduced purchasing power. With the harvest many households will access own foods from production and in December/January households will sell crops and to meet expenditures for the Christmas and New Year festivities, further increasing market supplies. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected across some flood and conflict affected parts of the country through at least September. In October, many areas of the country are expected to improve to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) as households start accessing own foods from the harvest.

    The worst conflict-affected households in the northwest, including Sokoto, Zamfara, and Katsina States, are expected to remain displaced and unable to engage in normal livelihood activities and now dependent on atypical livelihood activities. They are also market dependent for food at atypically high prices. Only some of these households are engaging in cultivation for access to own foods. As the conflict in the northwest increases, worst-affected households in Sokoto, Zamfara and Katsina states will likely face food consumption gaps. As a result, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected through January 2021. In areas of Plateau, Kaduna, Taraba, Niger, Benue and Nasarawa states remain where conflict is not as extensive and engagement in income earning activities is slightly better, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected through September. Although engagement in agriculture is limited, household are expected to access some food from own production with the harvest. Food security outcomes are expected to improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Minimal (IPC Phase 1).

    The Boko Haram conflict is expected to continue significantly disrupting normal livelihood activities for most households in the northeast. Income-earning opportunities remain restricted as a substantial population remains displaced. Most displaced households remain highly dependent on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic food needs, particularly IDPs in urban areas and those residing in camps. These populations are expected to continue facing Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes through at least September. As these households are very depending on assistance to access food and incomes are limited, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected in October.

    Communities outside of the IDP settlements within the Sambisa axis, northern and central Borno, northern Adamawa, and southern Yobe, and who remain outside urban centers in the northeast will continue to receive limited or no humanitarian assistance and are dependent on their own limited harvest and market purchase, though at atypically high prices, for food. These households are expected to continue earning below-average incomes due to restricted movement due to conflict and COVID-19 lockdown. Consequently, households in partially accessible areas and those worst-affected by the conflict who are unable to engage in normal livelihood activities, and facing constraints in accessing markets, will continue to face larger food consumption gaps and will remain in Emergency (IPC Phase 4). These households will mainly be engaged in atypical livelihoods strategies such as consumption of wild food, indebtedness, migrating, and sell of productive assets to access food. With the main harvest in October, households that engaged in the agriculture will start consuming own foods; however, access to food is still expected to be limited and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected through at least January 2021. Areas where populations are affected by significant losses of livelihood activities and who remain inaccessible to humanitarian actors are likely facing similar or worse food security outcomes as adjacent, accessible areas. A risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) persists throughout this period in a worst-case scenario in which there is a dramatic shift or uptick in conflict that would significantly reduce household movement to access food and income and humanitarian access.

    Events that Might Change the Outlook

    Possible events over the next eight months that could change the most-likely scenario.



    Impact on food security outcomes



    Prolonged escalation of the COVID-19 cases across the country

    Prolonged lockdown across the country including rural communities.

    Substantially below average main harvest across the country, below average stocks, elevated food prices.

    Overstretched health facilities and increased government expenditure on health services.

    Widespread desert locust infestation across the country

    Reduced level of main season harvest and constrained food access.

    Increased trader speculation and staple food prices which would limit households’ ability to purchase food at markets. 

    Persistent land border closure


    Reduced staple flow to neighboring countries and likely lower demand and staple prices during the lean season.

    Restricted migrant labor flow to support agricultural activities leading to lower labor supply and higher wages.

    Increased level of conflict across the country

    Restricted level of main season harvest across the country.

    Constrained trade and livelihoods activities, restricted income opportunities and food access.

    Spike in displaced population across the country and increased assistance needs.


    For more information on the outlook for specific areas of concern, please click the download button at the top of the page for the full report.


    Figure 1


    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2

    Current food security outcomes, June 2020

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 3

    Figure 1

    Source: Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and National Bureau of Statistics (NBS)

    Figure 4

    Figure 2

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Figure 5

    Figure 3

    Source: Central Bank of Nigeria and National Bureau of Statistics

    Figure 6

    Figure 4

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 7

    Figure 5

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 8

    Figure 6

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 9

    Figure 7

    Source: NOAA CPC

    Figure 10

    Figure 8

    Source: FEWS NET

    To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET develops a set of assumptions about likely events, their effects, and the probable responses of various actors. FEWS NET analyzes these assumptions in the context of current conditions and local livelihoods to arrive at a most likely scenario for the coming eight months. Learn more here.

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